In 2004, AWF established the Kilimanjaro Elephant Research & Conservation Camp to serve as the base station for studying elephants in the area along the Tanzania-Kenya border. This region is part of AWF's Kilimanjaro Heartland, a conservation landscape that is home to populations of elephants who travel from Amboseli National Park in Kenya across the border to the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. However, the camp does more than simply studying elephants.
Formerly widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, today just 3,000-5,500 African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) remain in the wild, with most populations still declining.
AWF believes that applied research and community outreach is crucial to understanding human-wildlife conflict and methods to alleviate persecution of this endangered predator.
Anchoring AWF's transboundary Kilimanjaro Heartland landscape are two of East Africa's most prominent landmarks: Amboseli National Park in Kenya, home to the longest running study of African elephants; and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa's highest snow-capped peak. Between these two landmarks lies Elerai, a key dispersal area for elephants migrating from Amboseli south to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
African lions and their continued survival are among today's major international conservation issues. Scientists believe lion populations have declined from a high of 100,000 two decades ago to just 23,000. AWF's Bernard Kissui is pursuing research critical to a key population of lions in Northern Tanzania's Maasai Steppe.
(Washington, D.C.) Just as the mountain gorilla population was making a comeback with the arrival of twins in May 2004, the species has experienced a setback. In late December 2004, a young mountain gorilla was confiscated from four poachers by Rwandan police and the Rwandan Office of Tourism and Parks (ORTPN), during an undercover operation to intercept an illegal poaching incident. The young gorilla, estimated to be between 3 and 4 years of age, appears to be in relatively good physical health, though the odds of survival are unfavorable.